Shaun the Sheep apparently has had a tv series in Britain, but I’m not familiar with it. But I knew Aardman from things like Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run; anyway, they have a good body of work and I wouldn’t have thought anything would ever top The Wrong Trousers, but I think this is their best work. The plotting is simple; Shaun and his flock (along with a variety of other farm animals, like a sheep dog, pigs, etc.) lead a quiet uneventful life on a small farm – secretly Shaun longs for adventure, but it’s not exactly the one he wanted when the farmer disappears in the big city and Shaun finds himself on a rescue mission. There’s a really amazing hook here though, which is that the film contains not a single line of understandable dialogue. The animals make all their requisite noises and the humans do speak, but in a mumbly way so that you don’t understand anything they’re saying. The entire film is an exercise in a sort of broad pantomime, though I do have to say the people behind all the various noises have genius in their own way and those noises do help express emotions. But anyway, this is probably the funniest animated film I’ve seen in . . .a really long time. I’ve seen other animated films that are better in other ways, like Inside Out for example, but just in terms of pure hilarity, I laughed louder and longer at this movie than at any other animated film I can really remember seeing in the theater. It’s just a pure delight from beginning to end, a non-stop parade of slap-stick and sight gags. This film is an explosion of pure joy (speaking of Inside Out, my tiny Amy Poehler was going crazy over this film; and seriously, wouldn’t a tiny Amy Poehler be adorable?) and absolutely delightful. There’s this crazy grin on my face from start to finish and it’s a movie that really does leave you feeling completely happy. It’s a great, great movie. 4 stars.
tl;dr – mostly pantomimed animation follows farm animals on the trail of a missing farmer; brilliantly executed comedy with pitch perfect timing and the best physical gags in recent memory. 4 stars.